“Aussie rules football is a game that is ideal for my people in Buka and the New Guinea Islands region because we have the athletic built to play this game,” Lacey said.
Lacey, during the past year has conducted AFL training clinics at schools on Buka Island, in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as part of their physical eductaion classes.
With support from AFL PNG, he has been able to conduct proper training for young athletes and has started a competition within the Halia local level government area.
“I am still concentrating on the boys but hopefully by next year, we’ll bring in the girls,” Lacey said.
“I believe that it’s very important that we give a wider choice of sporting games to our youth and right now I’ve got my eyes set on primary schools in Halia.”
Lacey believes AFL provides conditions that will help improve children’s development and even give talented players a chance to be elite footballers.
The competition, which started in July this year, has seen schools field two teams each for the under-17, U14 and U12 divisions from Hakets, Hanahan, Hahalis and Tohatsino primary schools.
Matches are held on Sundays at the Hakets school ground.
“We cannot wait to participate in events AFL PNG has in store for this month and next year.
“The interest in Buka is high.
“Our boys have learned a lot in a short time, both in theory and on the field.
The footy has had a big impact in the Halia schools.
“We have the capability but need the resources to help develop the code.
“We’re grateful to AFL PNG for providing us with balls, uniforms and training material.
“This has helped to strengthen Aussie rules in the area,” Lacey added.